Accountability: Trump indicted!
Accountability: Trump indicted!

No one is above the law, not even the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States or a for­mer pres­i­dent. It’s a refrain that our team at NPI has heard a mil­lion times in the past few years, and it’s an impor­tant one. Today, a grand jury gave it mean­ing by indict­ing Don­ald Trump, a patho­log­i­cal liar and neo­fas­cist who should nev­er have been entrust­ed with any posi­tion of respon­si­bil­i­ty, let alone the presidency.

Trump’s law­break­ing pre­dat­ed his four years in the White House, con­tin­ued while he occu­pied the Oval Office, and con­tin­ued even after he left. Yet until a few hours ago, he had only been the sub­ject of inves­ti­ga­tions and no charges.

That has now changed. The log­jam has bro­ken; we have an indictment.

It may well be just the first of many indictments.

Come­di­an John Fugel­sang drove this point home in a post on Twit­ter: “Stop view­ing #TrumpIn­dict­ment as ‘the first U.S. pres­i­dent to ever be indict­ed’ and start view­ing it mere­ly as ‘Trump’s first indictment.’ ”

The indict­ment is under seal, so we don’t know what the charges are yet. At this moment, it’s sim­ply good to know that the indict­ment has been hand­ed down. That Dis­trict Attor­ney Alvin Brag­g’s team has suc­ceed­ed in lay­ing out the evi­dence for a pan­el of New York­ers that Trump vio­lat­ed the laws of the Empire State.

Trump must now sur­ren­der to the author­i­ties in New York.

It’s expect­ed he will be fin­ger­print­ed and a police mugshot will be taken.

“It appears the #TrumpIn­dict­ment is a felony indict­ment, which is more seri­ous than the mis­de­meanor some have sug­gest­ed,” not­ed Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ted Lieu. “No one out­side the grand jury and Man­hat­tan DA’s office has knowl­edge of the charges or evi­dence. Let’s let the judi­cial sys­tem do its job with­out interference.”

“For those ask­ing about my state­ment on the indict­ment of Don­ald Trump — who nev­er said sor­ry for call­ing for my exe­cu­tion — here it is: Kar­ma,” tweet­ed Yusef Abdus Salaam, one of the exon­er­at­ed Cen­tral Park Five.

“The indict­ment of Don­ald Trump is no cause for joy. The hard work and con­sci­en­tious­ness of the grand jurors must be respect­ed. Now let truth and jus­tice pre­vail. No one is above the law,” tweet­ed Clark Brew­ster, the cur­rent attor­ney for Stormy Daniels, adding the hash­tag #Team­Stormy.

Daniels retweet­ed that with the words “Thank you.”

““For the first time in our Country’s his­to­ry, a Pres­i­dent (cur­rent or for­mer) of the Unit­ed States has been indict­ed,” said Trump’s for­mer “fix­er” Michael Cohen, who has already served time for the law­break­ing he did on behalf of Trump.

“I take no pride in issu­ing this state­ment and wish to also remind every­one of the pre­sump­tion of inno­cence; as pro­vid­ed by the due process clause.”

“How­ev­er, I do take solace in val­i­dat­ing the adage that no one is above the law; not even a for­mer Pres­i­dent. Today’s indict­ment is not the end of this chap­ter; but rather, just the begin­ning. Now that the charges have been filed, it is bet­ter for the case to let the indict­ment speak for itself. The two things I wish to say at this time is that account­abil­i­ty mat­ters and I stand by my tes­ti­mo­ny and the evi­dence I have pro­vid­ed to DANY [Dis­trict Attor­ney of New York].”

“For all of Trump’s brava­do about look­ing for­ward to a perp walk, the real­i­ty is that he has feared and avoid­ed an indict­ment for more than four decades, after first being crim­i­nal­ly inves­ti­gat­ed in the 1970s. He watched in hor­ror as his for­mer chief finan­cial offi­cer, Allen Weis­sel­berg, sur­ren­dered to author­i­ties and it was shown on tele­vi­sion in 2021,” The New York Times’ Mag­gie Haber­man wrote.

Although Trump had pre­dict­ed days ago that he would be arrest­ed (his tim­ing was off), MAG­A­world still seemed tak­en aback by the news of the indictment.

There were audi­ble gasps from FNC staffers that were heard on-air when Trump’s once for­mer cable chan­nel report­ed the news of his indictment.

Per­haps they did­n’t believe it was actu­al­ly going to hap­pen. Well, it has.

Despite not know­ing what the charges are, Trump defend­er Alan Der­showitz declared on live TV: “They’ve made a fool­ish, fool­ish deci­sion which will cause the case to be thrown out, I think, on statute of lim­i­ta­tions grounds.”

That’s non­sense. Dis­trict Attor­ney Alvin Bragg has moved method­i­cal­ly and thought­ful­ly towards this point. Only peo­ple in Trump’s camp, who have a vest­ed inter­est in defend­ing him no mat­ter what, would say some­thing like that before even read­ing the charges against him.

We’ve some­times seen peo­ple opine that Trump would­n’t ever get held account­able — that he’d just get to skate. That sen­ti­ment is under­stand­able giv­en how long the wheels of jus­tice have tak­en to begin turn­ing. But they’re spin­ning now. And it’s quite pos­si­ble they’ll con­tin­ue to for the rest of Trump’s life.

In a nation of laws, account­abil­i­ty like this is huge­ly impor­tant and absolute­ly nec­es­sary. Our thanks to Bragg and the pros­e­cu­tors for their work on this case.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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